2012 Green Car Buyer’s Guide, Mazda

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2012 Green Car Buyer’s Guide, Mazda

2012 model year highlight from Mazda: the Mazda 3 (with Skyactiv).


Compiled by Megan E. Phelps, John Rockhold,
Hannah Kincaid, Emily Glover,
Bradley Berman and Zach McDonald

See “What the Numbers Mean” in The Ultimate Green Car Buyer’s Guide, 2012 for a full description of the metrics we collected for each model.

Mazda 3 (With Skyactiv)

Gasoline, Compact or Hatchback

Price Range: $20,300 – $22,300
City/Hwy/Combined MPG: 28/40/33
Annual Fuel Cost: $1,750
Air Pollution Score: 5
Greenhouse Gas Score: 8
ACEEE Green Score and Class Ranking: 48/Above Average
Safety Ratings: IIHS Top Safety Pick; 4-star NHTSA rating
Space: 94.1 cu. ft. p.v./seats 5
Drive Score: 5
Similar Used: Skyactiv new for 2012

Good to Know:

  • The 2012 Mazda 3 marks the North American debut of Mazda’s Skyactiv portfolio of efficiency-boosting technologies.
  • Skyactiv uses direct injection and one of the highest fuel compression ratios found in a mass-market vehicle. This increases engine power by 5 percent, torque by 10 percent and fuel economy by more than 20 percent.
  • Other features found in the Skyactiv fuel-saving suite include an electrohydraulic steering system and a unique six-speed automatic transmission that behaves like a traditional automatic at lower speeds but mimics a dual-clutch at higher speeds.
  • Skyactiv is an option for two of the hatchback Mazda 3 trims and two of the compact Mazda 3 trims.
  • The Mazda 3 earns high points for driving fun, sometimes even compared with BMW in terms of driving dynamics.

What the Press Says:

  • “On the highway with just a few frugal driving techniques, we found it is possible to keep with the flow of traffic and push mileage well into the mid-40-mpg range in the Mazda 3. That’s hybrid territory.” — Green Car Journal
  • “The 2012 Mazda 3’s refinement issues will linger until the car gets a full redesign in the future, but its driving fun and fuel efficiency keep the car competitive.” — Cars.com
  • “The Skyactiv technology almost certainly will be adopted by other carmakers as a way to meet ever-increasing fuel economy standards. Mazda is to be congratulated for bumping mileage up and still making cars that are fun to drive.” — Autoweek

More 2012 green cars: Find details about many more green cars from other automakers in The Ultimate Green Car Buyer’s Guide, 2012.

Photo from Mazda